Enforcement officers in a car fitted with a camera are to monitor and fine parents who have angered residents and endangered pupils by parking in prohibited areas outside a Melton school.
Staff at Brownlow Primary School, in Limes Avenue, have fielded complaints from residents for many years because of the traffic congestion at the beginning and end of each school day.
But now Leicestershire County Council is to trial a scheme using the patrol car to gather evidence to enable offending drivers to be issued with tickets if they park on zig zag lines and other ‘no parking’ areas.
Brownlow is one of 13 schools across the county which will be involved in the trial from the start of the autumn term.
Head teacher Damien Turrell said: “They have got a camera car which we have agreed to sign up to as part of this trial.
“Residents complain all the time about parents parking in the streets outside but they do understand that the school is in a difficult situation at the moment.
“We can only advise parents on where to park but we can’t legally enforce it.
“Once people have parked in the wrong place and been picked up by this camera car, it should stop them doing so again.”
The school was built in 1928, at a time when there were far fewer vehicles and when children walked to school.
But issues with parking have accentuated as Brownlow has grown to one of the county’s biggest primary schools.
As a result, Limes Avenue, King’s Road, Salisbury Avenue, Bayswater Road and Stafford Avenue are often jammed with the cars of parents when they drop off and collect children.
Mr Turrell said: “A little while ago we changed the end of the school day so pick-ups were staggered for different classes.
“But with 600 children attending a school built in Edwardian times in a little street there are still going to be issues with parking.
“We have encouraged parents to park on Dee Close where there is space for 30 to 40 cars and it is only two or three minutes’ walk away.
“But most are in a hurry, of course, and they just pull up to the school and it becomes massively congested.”
The school has also run various schemes, rewarding pupils with badges if they walk or cycle to school.
The problems with parking have remained, though, and Mr Turrell is hoping the new camera car scheme will ease the situation.
He added: “We are trying what we can to minimise the impact on residents but we rely at the moment on parents following our advice.
“Unless we pick the school up and place it somewhere else in Melton with a Tesco-sized car park we are going to continue having parking problems so we need to try this new scheme and see if it works.”
A Kings Road resident said he had complained to County Hall several times about the situation in the roads near Brownlow School because he fears the traffic congestion at peak times outside the school will prevent emergency vehicles getting through.
The resident, who declined to be named, sent in a photo showing parents cars parked along the junction of Kings Road and Limes Avenue and commented: “It was taken in the afternoon and caused traffic jams from all directions.
“An emergency vehicle attending a fire or an ambulance would be delayed and that would put people’s lives at risk.”
County Hall decided to include Brownlow in its trial scheme because officers saw that existing ‘keep clear’ road markings were only advisory and were not being observed.
Mandatory ‘school keep clear’ and a ‘no waiting at any time restriction’ is to be placed outside the school premises to deter parents from parking there.
A Leicestershire County Council spokesperson said civil enforcement officers will be carrying out the checks as part of their duties and this will be the first time such a trial has taken place in Melton.
The town’s Sherard Primary School and Asfordby Captain’s Close School are also considering taking part in the enforcement scheme to solve their parking issues on streets outside. The council is looking into the problems they face before deciding whether to involve them both too.
Councillor Blake Pain, county council cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “We’re planning to launch a trial to help combat problems arising from parking outside schools by making more zig-zag zones enforceable.
“We work closely with schools and colleges to improve issues around on-street parking as well as pedestrian and pupil safety and invited schools to register their interest in the scheme which is due to be rolled out in September.
“Brownlow Primary School, in Limes Avenue, is one of the 13 schools across the county which will participate in the trial which we hope will go some way towards alleviating the concerns of parents and residents.”